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Bitter Defeat, Writing

The genesis of a book cover – Blaise Maximillian: Emancipation REVEAL!


Due to attending local sci-fi events, I got talking to the wonderful and talented Marc Ducrow. I helped him out with some contacts and we kept talking over Facebook (such a wonderful tool). Then, when I was looking for a cover artist for Blaise Maximillian: Emancipation I asked him if he’d be able to take my concept, and change it the way I needed.

A marvellous piece of work.

A marvelous piece of work.

I was very clear in my mind as to what I wanted so sent him a brief and the image to left. It captured everything that I wanted to communicate. Blaise Maximillian: Emancipation – both the book and the title story – have very strong, very tough women determined to do their bit and show their male counterparts that they are just as good as them. This picture not only demonstrates that, but the inner strength that all women in that era had, but were not allowed to demonstrate in most work-based aspects until the shortage of manpower required them to enter the factories.

This image is also immediately recognisable to anyone that enjoys history and military-based history, and so I chose it for another reason. To mess with people’s minds. The original poster is taken from the 1940s, World War 2. I’ve changed it, and placed it firmly in my version of World War 1, otherwise known as the Great War. This is a fabulous piece of war propaganda, and serves just as well in my alternate version of history.

The first Emancipation image I was sent

The first Emancipation image I was sent

Once we’d agreed on a price and I’d sent the money (pretty much straightaway as I was somewhat eager) Marc set to work. After what seemed an incredibly short time, Marc sent me ‘What do you think?’ message with the image to the right. I was immediately blown away. He’d listened to what I wanted, used the images (I sent a number of research images to him) and captured the spirit of the woman perfectly. I let him know so. From there on in, I knew for certain that Marc completely and totally understood what I was going for. He nailed it.

Over the days to come, I was sent the following sneak peeks. Each one saw my excitement mount. Until today, when I got the final image and I knew that, no matter what, this book had the best cover it possibly could have.

Emancipation is about strong women, and this woman is most certainly that!

Emancipation is about strong women, and this woman is most certainly that!

emancipation black and white3

The creative process fascinates me.

The final Emancipation image before digitising it all.

The final Emancipation image before digitising it all.

emancipation cover

When I saw what Marc had done with this, I was blown away!

emancipation final

The final Emancipation cover in all its glory. She’s beautiful, she’s strong, she’s powerful.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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